First of all, I have to admit: before this season, Nordica skis have never really been on my radar. As I wrote in our 1st ANNUAL BLISTER AWARDS piece, I was shocked to name TWO Nordica skis in a 3-way tie for Best Graphics. Now, I’m about to rave about the Girish. (I’m also on the brink of singing the praises of the Nordica Patrón, I just need a few more days on it.) It’s a brave new world out there.
I agree with everything Will says above, though I can’t personally attest to the Girish’s performance in tight trees. What I can underscore is how well the Girish handles chop and wide open spaces. And while I have had some of the best days of my life skiing deep powder at Alta this year, my time spent on the Girish was certainly a highlight of the season.
My first run on the Girish was dropping into about a foot of untracked snow on Thirds. It was a gorgeous, blue bird morning, and I was now laying first tracks down a wide open face. The Girish were happy to be skied from a centered, upright position, but they also responded to shovel pressure and were happy to be driven. This was particularly impressive because the snow wasn’t stupid light (as it often is in the Wasatch), yet I wasn’t getting thrown around or bucked at all while driving the tips.
Later in the day, we got word that Devil’s Castle was opening for the first time since the last storm, and our crew decided to head over. When the rope dropped, we traversed out to a huge sea of untracked snow.
Now, I’ve been skiing a ton of 5 dimension, “fun shaped” skis recently, and while they certainly are fun, they don’t rip. I wasn’t in the mood to make quick turns and bounce playfully down the Castle, I wanted to haul ass.
Flying down Devil’s Castle, making big, BIG, fast turns in about 12-18″ of fresh, wet snow, the Girish didn’t have a super surfy feel; instead, the tips were cutting through the snow with zero deflection and no bucking. About half way down, I was humbled to learn that, while skiing, my brain seems to work in worn out clichés: I found myself thinking, “Like a knife through butter.” At 110mm underfoot, the Girish floats you pretty well, but it is super effective at slicing and cutting through the snow (not just planing above it, then diving on you when it fails to plane).
Then there is the Girish’s performance in chop and bumped up run outs. The Nordica reminded me in these conditions of the 182cm MOMENT Belafonte, a fairly heavy ski (and 106mm under foot) that I love for it’s ability to rail hardpack and drive through crud and chop. The Belafontes are locked down on hard pack, and the Girish felt the same way.
Much like the Belafontes, I couldn’t believe how stable the Girish was making big turns at high speed through the bumped up lines of Sunspot, West Rustler, and Alf’s High Rustler. Stay aggressive – forward – and blow through it all. (Aside #1: A couple weeks earlier, this same terrain was relatively terrifying on fun, playful, and pivot-y fun shaped skis.) (Aside #2: as I was skiing at Arapahoe Basin this past weekend, I kept thinking that the Girish would be a perfect ski for 80-90% of the terrain there.)
Finally, I’ll give the Girish high praise again by saying that it felt nearly as good – and perhaps simply as good – as the Belafonte on groomers, no speed limit whatsoever. And yet the Girish feels more forgiving than the Belafonte.
Either the Belafonte or the Girish could be an everyday driver out west, and I could see the Girish serving as the fat end – the chop and powder end – of a two-ski-quiver back east, and especially for people who carve their turns rather than smear them. It remains to be seen whether the Girish is, like the Belafonte, a handful in bumps, but I would think it is less so. We’ll see.
But for groomers, crud, chop, steeps, and powder, the Nordica Girish certainly lives up to its name.